SoftBank Corp. has formed a solar and wind energy joint venture that could invest as much as $20 billion in producing 20 gigawatts of power in India, partnering the country’s top wireless provider, Bharti Enterprises Ltd., with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd.
The Press Trust of India reported the news, citing SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son and Bharti Chairman Sunil Mittal at a news conference in New Delhi on Monday. Earlier this year, the Japanese telecom and Internet company had committed to investing $10 billion in India.
SoftBank is one of the largest investors in India’s biggest ridesharing services provider Ola Cabs and Snapdeal.com, which is the country’s second-largest e-commerce company.
Subject to certain conditions, SoftBank, Bharti and Foxconn will jointly invest in the new venture, called SBG Cleantech Ltd., the companies said in a press release. SBG intends to participate in the 2015-'16 round of solar power plant tenders under India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission program and state-specific solar programs.
India has set itself the target of generating 100 gigawatts of electricity through solar installations and a further 60 gigawatts via wind turbines by 2022. Given its vast population, high irradiation, growing energy demand and power deficit, limited access to fossil fuels and a large number of unlit villages, India has great potential to be a major solar market, the Japanese company said in the release.
Currently, India generates only 3.7 gigawatts of solar power. But it has built up government policies and created an ecosystem of installers, manufacturers, developers, financiers and researchers. “Our eyes are trained on India,” Son said in the release. “We have already made considerable investments in the technology sector here. With this partnership, our goal is to create a market-leading clean energy company.”
Son named Manoj Kohli, who until recently led Bharti's emerging businesses, as executive chairman and Raman Nanda as the CEO of SBG, which will be based in New Delhi.
Solar in India is likely to grow by 250 percent in 2015, the companies said, citing the "India Solar Handbook." Globally, renewable energy outpaced the growth of fossil fuels in 2015, and a record 107 gigawatts was added through wind, solar, geothermal and other natural sources, according to the release.